East Islip High graduate Katie Umbdenstock, now in her first year at Elon University in North Carolina, realized just how special her East Islip school environment was when she had the opportunity to write about it.
During her first semester at Elon, she took an intensive writing course in which students had to pick a topic and build four papers around their central idea. “I chose to write about experiential learning and how I believe it is more effective for knowledge retention,” said Umbdenstock. “The real learning takes place outside of the classroom, in the real world. It makes perfect sense that students will exert more effort on things they can directly influence, and where they are able to see the real effect of their decisions.”
Umbdenstock supplemented her course idea by delineating her experiences as a member of East Islip High School’s International Business Globalization Career Academy. “When I presented my portfolio to my writing class, they were in awe,” she recounted. “They couldn’t believe my public school had such a great interactive program. I attested to all the knowledge and new perspectives on learning I gained from being a part of such an amazing group of students and teachers.” Her college classmates agreed with her that implementing programs like the Career Academy on a nationwide basis would induce interaction and involvement in the classroom, as well as help students develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and social and intrapersonal skills.
“The International Business Globalization Career Academy shaped who I am today,” Umbdenstock asserted. “It made me believe that any goal I set is attainable as long as I plan and use my resources wisely. The Career Academy helped prepare me for the ‘real world,’ or the ‘semi-real world’ which is the collegiate utopia of Elon University.”